Medicine

More walkouts over new ownership of Cambodian newspaper Phnom Penh Post

More walkouts over new ownership of Cambodian newspaper Phnom Penh Post

Discussions on further walkouts "are ongoing".

Crisis gripped Cambodia's last independent newspaper today as the editor-in-chief was sacked by its new owner over a front-page article on the sale, while several senior reporters resigned in protest at the apparent attack on editorial integrity.

The two reporters who wrote the piece resigned on Monday afternoon and at least one senior editor on the English-language version of paper also quit - all three alleging they were ordered to pull the story.

Cambodia ranked 142 out of 180 global locations on the 2018 World Press Freedom index compiled by Reporters With out Borders.

Sam Rainsy, the former leader of the opposition party, who abruptly quit past year in the face of government pressure, said that The Post had recently published two of his letters to the editor, but that he did not expect the new management to continue the practice.

"A lot of us are heartbroken today", reporter Erin Handley quoted as saying by SCMP.

The Post also linked the new owner to the Malaysian and Cambodian governments, including Prime Minister Hun Sen's second son, Hun Manith.

Sivakumar slammed the article as a "disgrace and insult" in a statement released on Monday. This buyer proclaims himself as a "journalist" by training, though his name is totally unknown and non-existent in Malaysia, Cambodia or elsewhere.

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Kay Kimsong, who had worked at the The Post for 10 years, told The Associated Press that the representative of the newspaper's new owner had told him he made a big mistake by allowing the publication on the front page of the article.

"I have done nothing wrong".

He said he would not challenge his termination in court because the new owner said he would be compensated under the labor law.

Cambodia's leading English language newspaper has been sold to an investor who is believed to have government ties. Ahead of the general election in Bangladesh, scheduled to be held in December 2018, information minister Hasanul Haq Inu and Prime Minister's media adviser Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury had jointly drafted a proposal suggesting Sheikh Hasina in serving notice on all the private Television channels and newspapers to pay the unpaid amount of VAT [value added tax].

The country is nominally democratic, but Hun Sen, the longest-ruling leader in Asia, has recently shuttered dissenting news outlets, jailed dozens of critics and dissolved the main opposition party, the Cambodia National Rescue Party, or CNRP - apparently with Beijing's blessing.

In a statement on Saturday, former owner Clough said the tax issue had been resolved, and that the sale was prompted by a "worldwide decline in market share for newspaper advertising" which had also been felt in Cambodia. "We have now seen the Cambodian authorities systematically collapse and repress quite a few media shops within the final 12 months".

Journalists have reported to the Overseas Press Club of Cambodia difficulty getting press passes, according to Eleanor Sok, OPCC vice-president.

Foreign journalists too have faced difficulty gaining press passes and work permits.